Paul's Field

From Historical Hastings

Now allotments[1] situated behind Old London Road and bordered by Mount Road and Ashburnham Road, this field covering between 11 and 12 acres also known as Paul's Land derives from the name of an occupier (William Paul) dating to the middle of the 18th Century. There is also reference to some land adjoining Torfield found in the Collier Letters. The land was made up of three separate fields; Shooswells (or Spring Field 1769), Weeke's or Werrick's Croft (Barn Field) and Manning's Croft[2]

Map showing individual fields comprising Pauls Field

Baines' Early History

Taken from Histories of Hastings' Houses and Properties in three volumes: J. Manwaring Baines - Hastings Museum and Art Gallery[3][4][5]

10 Jul 1700 Richard Russell & Elizabeth his wife, grant to John Watts for £390, various lands, and "all that Barn & 3 pieces of Land called Shooeswell, Weekes Croft and Warwicks Croft and Mannings Croft", 12 acres, bounding to highways and to lands of Thomas Street and Melchior Reynolds East and South".
11 Oct 1700 Mortgage by Richard Watts of Hasting gardiner to Edmund Spray of Catsfield yeoman, of all this property for £300.
10 Jun 1705 Being unable to pay, Watts acknowledges him-self tenant at £6 p.a.
23 Jun 1711 Assignment of mortgage by Adrian Spray of Bexhill yeoman, as executor of his father's will, to Mr Joseph Tucker of Rye gent.
20 Feb 1721 Left by will of Joseph Tucker to wife Elizabeth for life, etc.
25 Feb 1735 Left by will of Elizabeth Tucker to executors, Samuel Jeake esq & Joseph Tucker, for latter, Assignment of mortgage by executors for £500 to John Collier.
Note in Abstract Book that it is in occupation of William Paul at £16 p.a.
23 Dec 1768 Assignment of Mortgage of Paul's Land to Hon. James Murray of Beauport.
26 Jul 1769 Maj. Gen. James Murray to Edward Milward esq, assignment of "so much as is now in the occupation of William Paul containing 11 acres." commonly called "Pauls house and lands".

1902 Plans

During 1902, serious discussion took place in the council as to whether the land, then owned by the Rev. Sayer-Milward could be purchased to create a park for the area, which could be known as 'Milward Park', however the sloping nature of the site meant that any recreational usage such as football pitches would not be possible. The council voted in favour of acquiring the land[6] ultimately a community organisation, the Hastings Allotment Association, eventually acquired a lease to the land at some point prior to 1920[7].

Potential Development

During 1933, the Small-holdings and Allotments Committee reported to the council that the lease on the field would expire on the 29th of September that year. The Committee entered into negotiations with the land-owners to purchase the land, which was also considered to be prime building land. Consideration was asked by the Committee for the council to consider acquiring the land at a price of £200 per acre, which could then be leased to the Hastings Horticultural and Allotments Association Ltd. to maintain the site as allotments[8]. Ultimately the council acquired half of the land in 1935 at a cost of £200 per acre[9] in the name of the Small Holdings and Allotments Committee utilising the Small holdings and Allotments Act 1908-1925 from the then owner, Alfred Carlisle Sayer of Platnix, Westfield[10].

Possible Iron-Working

During 2020, as part of Hastings Museum's 'Rock around Hastings' project, a large lump of tap slag was found near Edgar Road. This mineral is a by-product of iron working - waste from a tapping furnace - and may indicate a previously unknown bloomery was in the area[11], although it may well have been transported to the site with other such material for forming a path or roadway.

References & Notes

  1. Pauls Field Allotments, accessdate: 11 March 2020
  2. Histories of Hastings' Houses and Properties in three volumes: J. Manwaring Baines - Hastings Museum and Art Gallery
  3. Collier Abstract Book.No.47
  4. Milward Collection, Bundle 44
  5. Map of the Parishes of S/C, A/S and Fairlight (E/0.63)
  6. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 19 July 1902 pg. 6
  7. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 28 August 1920 pg. 6
  8. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 10 June 1933 pg. 13
  9. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 30 March 1935 pg. 10
  10. Paul's Field Allotments, Old London Road, Hastings (HT 5564) | The National Archives, accessdate: 11 March 2020
  11. HMAG Rock around Hastings